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American history
The Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln
 
 
Author
Kate Clifford Larson.
Publisher Basic Books  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9.15 x 6.1 x 0.75 inches
ISBN 9780465018932
Pages/Publication Date 263/2008
Daedalus Item Code 32940
List Price: $16.95
Sale Price: $4.98
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In this account, historian Kate Clifford Larson—who also gave us the "astonishingly good" (Dallas Morning News) biography of Harriet Tubman, Bound for the Promised Land—tells the gripping story of Mary Surratt, a little-known participant in the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln, and the first woman ever to be executed by the federal government. Surratt ran the boarding house in Washington where the conspirators met to plan the assassination and also owned the Maryland tavern where Booth first rested in his flight; it was the testimony of John Lloyd, who ran the tavern, that ensured her conviction. Larson marshals a solid case against Surratt, while observing how her actions defied 19th-century norms of femininity, piety, and motherhood.

"Larson captures brilliantly the atmosphere of Mary Surratt's trial in a crowded court room—murder trials attract morbid spectators—during the sweltering heat of a Washington summer. Her description of the drama of Mary's last hours, when she was broken by a death sentence that neither she nor her lawyers had believed possible, makes compelling reading."—Spectator (UK)

"Was Mary Surratt an accomplice in Lincoln's assassination and justly sent to the scaffold? Larson freshly tackles these questions in this spirited narrative, mining just about every shred of evidence. While having started out believing in her subject's innocence, she ends up convinced that Surratt was guilty of joining John Wilkes Booth's plot to kill the president. Less sure, however, that Surratt should have swung from the gallows, Larson leaves this deeply freighted moral question open, as it should be. The tale itself could not be better told, nor could the cast of characters be brought more to life.... It's now up to those who still think Surratt innocent to prove Larson wrong. They'll be hard put to do so."—Publishers Weekly

 
 
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